In the last half of the twentieth century, as the world economy evolved and businesses began to go international, C-suite employees and other high-level staff often found themselves traveling extensively in order to get business done. It became commonplace for executives and business leaders to spend extensive time (and money) travelling in order to meet face-to-face with clients and employees at other branches. This expenditure of resources proved beneficial for decades. That is, until the advent of video conferencing.
As the use of video conferencing began to increase in the late 1980s, businesses realized that they could facilitate meetings between international partners or remote branches on a regular basis without extensive travel. Traveling could be limited to annual or quarterly meetings, while weekly or even daily meetings could be done via video conferencing.
This remained as “common practice” in most industries well into the 2010s. Much value was still placed on face to face meet and greets. Office culture, too, was entrenched at this point, and many thought leaders and business leaders still believed that in-person was always best. The idea of working from home was anathema to business culture, and anyone who advocated for remote work was considered unambitious, at the very least, and avoidant at worst.
The New Era of Business, Post-2020
Then 2020 arrived and switched paradigms in business. Forced to do business remotely, business leaders began to realize that “face to face” was not always essential; moreover, meeting virtually in a replicated “face to face” scenario via web-based conferencing still delivered.
Additionally, it has become increasingly clear that remote work is actually beneficial to workers and businesses alike. With remote work, productivity may increase, and stress levels for the average worker go down. Remote workers, rather than being detached and unengaged individuals, could potentially be even more engaged than traditional office workers.
The Gig Economy – The Future of Business
Today’s gig economy is yet another factor affecting how we do business. Freelancers, working remotely from their own homes or offices, are often the most cost-effective way for businesses to engage certain services. Rather than contracting in-house staff that require extensive HR and upkeep, businesses can get the same high quality of service without the added overhead.
From the employee side, the deal has as many plusses. Workers in the gig economy get to escape the commute, the ‘rat race’, and even the politics that can only happen when people are working in close quarters. They get the added benefits, as well, of working on their own schedule, by and large.
A Viable Business Model
Remote work and collaboration are no longer negatives in the world of business. As the business world continues its complete transition into the digital space, this approach will be not only useful, but also essential. With the advanced hardware solutions available today, gig economy workers and businesses can both access the tools they need to collaborate effectively from a distance. As paradigms shift and companies adjust, we may well find ourselves in an era of great potential for business.